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10:34 a.m. - 2013-04-28
Chiller- spring 2013

Karen Allen is one of the most gracious patient people I've ever met. Famous or not. She was astonishingly kind to all the geeky fans (like me) and did her best to make sure everyone's "Hey! I'm hugging Karen Allen!" pics came out nice by posing for many retakes and being sweet when people's cameras screwed up.

Barry Bostwick, however, is nuts. In a good way, but he's definitely a little unplugged from our shared reality. For one thing the man flirted with me- crazy on two counts- one since I am hardly flirt-worthy these days and for another I had my bodyguard with me and even holding my purse Mick is rather menacing. (Seriously, not many men can still be bad ass while holding the wife's pocketbook but Mick pulls it off quite well.) Barry Bostwick is a hoot and a half.

Patricia Quinn and Nell Campbell weren't snuggled on a loveseat grooming each other but it was obvious Magenta and Columbia are still good, good friends. Just how many midnight showings of 'Rocky Horror' have I lugged my toast and squirt bottles and playing cards and newspapers and sacks of rice to? Enough that I considered taking tap dancing lessons just to do my bit down a theater aisle during the Time Warp. Knowing the nature of fan-cons there was no expectation that Tim Curry or Susan Sarandon would show up to sign autographs in Parsippany, NJ but if Richard O'Brien had been there too I'd have fainted dead away.

Yup, it was Chiller time again. No Brady folk this year. And I do think I've embarrassed myself quite enough leaking tears and stuttering in front of Greg, Bobby and Cindy. (So far, but I swear I'll bag the rest of the cast someday.) But my fan geek self left the Sheraton yesterday wholly sated anyhow.

I got to meet Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork!!!!!!!!!!

Of course I blushed and stuttered and made a jackass of myself, but I'm over being shamed by my dorky reaction to meeting folk who've given me so much pleasure with their acting and music. When it was my turn to meet them I stuck out my hand to shake and we had a funny confused business where I shook Mickey's then Peter shook Mickey's and then mine and then I shook Peter's again and Mickey shook my hand yet again like a handshake version of 'Who's on First?' I did my best to blink back tears, but I know I leaked a little. My ear-to-ear grin and lack of careful artifice with the camera angle goes far in showing just how blown away I was. When I do I ever post any pic this unflattering? But here I am in all my pudge-faced, double-chinned, blobby-bod glory and I don't give a shit. I got to hug on and kiss Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork. If I could time travel back and tell my 8 year old self sitting in front of the Zenith on a Saturday morning laughing myself silly watching 'The Monkees' that someday I'd meet two of them in the flesh...wow.

It's not that I am a total rube, it's simply joy. To have that brief moment to thank people who've added to my life with their art, well, it's just too damn cool. It's important to me. Some might be cynical and sneer at the crass commercialism of fan-cons and the 'pay-to-play' of putting out folding green to meet an entertainer. Like a pricey version of a petting zoo where you pay a dollar for a couple carrot chunks to feed to a giraffe. (Something else I totally don't mind, btw, how often does someone in downstate NY get to touch a giraffe? Not bloody likely one will turn up in my backyard.) I don't care if it's a money-spinner and an ego stroke for the famous, quasi-famous, has-beens, B-listers, whatever, the point is they are there. Sitting in some overly warm side room of the convention area of a Sheraton in Parsippany, NJ (for Christ's sake!) spending a weekend to say hello and put up with the physical exhaustion, the creepy grabbers, the mind-numbing boredom of answering the same questions a bazillion times just so dopes like me can meet them in person, I have no room for cynicism, I'm too grateful. Too wowed to be snarky.

Yesterday for the second time Mick got to speak with Ricou Browning, the guy who'd done the underwater parts as the Creature in 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon'. This is Mick's absolute favorite movie. His den is a shrine to it. Mick's collection of memorabilia, toys, collectables, artwork, autographs and books is one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. Mr Browning is the last living actor to play a Universal monster. (Frankenstein, Bride of, Dracula, Mummy, Werewolf, Creature) All the rest are gone. Ben Chapman, the actor who played the Creature above water died a few years ago and the autographs and the pictures Mick took with him at other fan-cons have pride of place in his collection. Mick's delight in meeting both Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning is immense. Yesterday Mick's shyness almost cost him more than a meet and greet, but I have no fear of looking a fool and spoke up. It turned out Mr Browning was very happy to explain to us how certain scenes from the movie were filmed and answer some technical questions about costuming and apparatus. Like touching a giraffe, how often do we get the chance to do this?

I figure it this way- it's not that the entertainers are superior, they're not lofty beings who are oh so better than us. They get the runs, they have to pay the bills, their kids talk back, their lawns grow crabgrass just like everybody's. It's that these folk have made art. A movie or a TV show or sang a song and those things have given me pleasure. Added something to my life that wouldn't have been there otherwise. Hey, when the opportunity comes up I thank the chef who made my dinner and the tailor who altered my favorite coat too. The work people do counts. Whether it's fixing my busted furnace or making me laugh with a movie role, my life is better because they did their thing. And I'm pleased when I get the chance to say thank you.

Mick and I had quite the series of adventures after Chiller too, but it'll keep until next time.

Right now I'm still all dorked out to have met several celebrity giraffes.


Much love from an un-cool, geeky, ~LA

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